My understanding of the Knights of Columbus… is that one of their functions, is to help families <especially their own?> in dire circumstances, to survive… through financial donations, fund raisers, counseling… or maybe various other forms of assistance. Do I have my facts correct? Or am I off base? Here’s why I ask…
A number of years ago… my brother-in-law was in a near fatal car accident. He survived, but had sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury. He nearly died. He and my sister … endured a long, stressful recovery… during which, he was unable to work and their relationship and home life, crumbled. They had two young children , at the time.
“Greg’s” parents lived in another state. And did manage to visit them 2 or 3 times, during his recovery. But this is the disturbing thing. I found out, through my sister… that Greg’s father was a senior, ranking member of the Knights of Columbus, in his parish.
However his parents, both his father and his mother… took a very odd “position” during Greg’s recovery. Despite the presence of two young grandchildren… and Greg’s inability to work… they left my sister, Linda … to “fend” for the family… alone <she had minimal help from our mother, who wasn’t as well off, financially… as Greg’s parents. This is a fact, not an assumption>. At no time… did they offer any financial assistance, counseling or support… that would be in keeping with the work done by the Knights of Columbus.
And here is the “Wow Finish”. Greg’s father… actually INSTRUCTED our elderly, widowed mother… who was on a fixed income… to “not let them go under”. Leaving a tremendous burden on our mother, while seemingly “washing his hands” of any commitment to offer real aid to his son’s family.
End result: Greg and Linda… divorced about 6 years into the situation, despite Linda’s valiant efforts to keep them afloat. Greg did recover enough to go back to work. But the family was destroyed. They now live in different states.
The reason I’m writing this… is because my poor sister has struggled with trying to understand how her former in-laws and particularly, her father-in-law… a Knight of Columbus, in good standing… could have behaved so heartlessly? We’ve spoken about it… many times over the years. But have not been able to reconcile his behavior… with the high standards of the Knights of Columbus.
I would greatly appreciate the thoughts of any Knights of Columbus, who might read this. Because my poor sister <and frankly, me> are quite lost… in trying to process all of this. I doubt there are any steps we could or should take… after all these years. But she and her kids… are struggling with “how to forgive”.
I would hate to think that this situation would ever happen… to another family in need… as it did to my sisters family.
Well, sorry this was so long. Thank you for reading. And God bless. Fr. McGivney, pray for us.